While the rest of the world is sitting back, waiting for Apple's imminent release of the iPad, Kogan Technologies is forging ahead with the design of its own iPad-killer. Their as yet unnamed device might not have the elegant look of the iPad but it certainly packs a punch in many other ways.
The 800 by 480 display was surprisingly clear in the demonstration and hands-on time we had with it. Although the display resolution isn't particularly high, it has high definition 1080p output over HDMI making it an excellent travel companion. You could start watching a movie while on a plane and then finish it at home on you HD television. For business users, it could be used as a presentation slate or for sharing spreadsheets and documents in the boardroom.
The engineering sample we trialled still needed some work on its operating system and software. The basic design of the Kogan tablet is the same as a unit that is intended for the Chinese market so the software we used was still an early beta. However, the soft keyboard had nice, large keys making on screen typing fairly easy. For the times you're using the Kogan tablet at a desk, it has a kickstand at the back so the screen can sit upright and you can connect a mouse and keyboard using the USB ports.
Communications include the standard Bluetooth and WiFi options you'd expect and there was no word on whether 3G would be included as an option. Given that the focus of the Kogan tablet is likely to be on consumers rather than hard core road warriors this isn't surprising as we could see a place for two or three Kogan tablets sitting around the house being used as digital photo frames, web browsers, eBook readers and email retrievers that are shared between multiple family members.
One of the surprising things about the Kogan tablet is that it will probably be delivered with two operating systems. When the machine starts, the user can choose between either Android or Linux. Interestingly, the demonstration unit we played with came with a third option of Windows CE. However, Ruslan Kogan, the Managing Director of Kogan Technologies, told us that he wouldn't be including Windows CE as he didn't want to pay the licensing fees. This is in keeping with his approach to deliver products at an affordable price point.
For those preferring to use Windows 7 there may be some disappointment as the Kogan tablet uses an ARM processor.
So, how much will the Kogan tablet cost? Final pricing isn't yet confirmed but Kogan told us that he was aiming for a $199 retail price. In other words, you could come away with three Kogan tablets for what one Apple iPad is expected to cost in Australia.
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